Postoperative vision loss (POVL) is a rare condition that typically occurs as a result of spine or cardiac surgery. Take the following studies into consideration: One study revealed that out of 3,450 surgeries, seven cases resulted in POVL. Similarly, another study reported 6 cases out of 14,102 surgeries that were associated with visual impairment post-surgery. Although this his data supports the low incidence rate POVL, it fails to address the need for solutions/treatments for these individuals.
There are 5 types of POVL that are known as external ocular injury; cortical blindness; retinal ischemia; ischemic optic neuropathy; and acute glaucoma. To date, treatment options largely depend on the type of POVL, however; they have yet to be deemed effective. For this reason, research is beginning to investigate alternative interventions such as chiropractic. In one case study, an 18-year old female expressed the following symptoms to a chiropractor: mid-back, neck, and low back pain, pain in her shoulders, numbness and tingling in both arms as well as her left leg and foot, vision loss in her left eye for two years, migraines, seizures, tinnitus, vertigo and digestive disorders. The patient experienced a stroke 4 years prior which required surgery and subsequently resulted in POVL.
No immediate changes were documented after the first adjustment. Instead, after the second adjustment which was administered 5 days after the initial adjustment, the patient reported seeing ‘sparkles’ in her left eye after which she was encouraged to rest for 15 minutes. After this time, the patient experienced resolution of vision loss that was present in her left eye! She was kept on a weekly schedule that involved leg-length checks, thermal scans, and Toggle Recoil technique that resulted in
maintenance of vision acuity, cessation of neck and back pain and fewer seizures as well as migraine headaches by the 11 th week of treatment.
The presented case study addresses the potential for chiropractic care to be used in the treatment of individuals who experience POVL. Additional research is required to support current findings.
Saffron, B., & Murdock, B. (2017). Resolution of Vision Loss in a Teenage Girl Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Case Study & Review of the Literature. Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research.